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SOCIAL EMPATHY


DEVELOPING THE SOCIAL EMPATHY INDEX 
Segal, Wagaman, Gerdes 
"What is Social Empathy?
Social empathy is the “ability to understand people by perceiving or experiencing their life situations and as a result gain insight into structural inequalities and disparities” (Segal, 2011, pp. 266-7). The assumption upon which the concept of social empathy is built is that with socially empathic feelings and knowledge, people are more inclined to work to promote social and economic justice and social well-being (Segal, 2007, 2008). Engaging in social empathy requires people to see themselves in relation to the outside world, and may increase their sense of efficacy or impact on the outside world, and ultimately gain a sense of empowerment (Wagaman, 2011).

 It is hoped that the development of social empathy can increase social engagement while promoting an individual’s own empathic abilities. Greater social engagement helps a person develop as a member of the larger society and in turn creates community, cultivates democratic behaviors, and protects public interests (Putnam, 1993). Promoting social empathy has the potential to enhance social engagement, improve prosocial processes, and build better social policies and programs, all of which benefit both the individual and society."


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